Stoke 1-3 Newcastle – Ba hat-trick sends Newcastle to third in Premier League

Britannia Stadium, StokeWalters 74 – Ba 12, 40, 81 The Premier League resembles a parallel universe these days. Here Newcastle have the most parsimonious defence in not just the top flight, but all four divisions of English football. Gone are the days of ‘glorious’ 4-3 defeats, in this world the men from St James’ Park leave that sort of entertaining up to the likes of Arsenal, Manchester united and Chelsea. They’re unbeaten after 10 games – their best start since 1996. What’s more, they now sit in third place with…

Read More

Benoit Assou-Ekotto – The unheralded mercenary with genuine affection for Spurs

Benoit Assou-Ekotto is an unsung hero in Tottenham Hotspur’s ranks; he has also proven to be a breath of fresh air. In a culture where badge kissing and generic sound bites are the norm, Assou-Ekotto is honest, candid and appears to have his priorities very clearly defined. “If I play football with my friends back in France, I can love football,” he has previously explained. “But if I come to England, where I knew nobody and I didn’t speak English … why did I come here? For a job. A…

Read More

Almunia returns to Arsenal after West Ham loan spell

Arsenal goalkeeper Manuel Almunia has returned to the club following a loan spell at West Ham, the club’s official website reports. Almunia spent a month at Upton Park on a emergency loan deal following an injury to Hammers goalkeeper Robert Green. Green returned to action this weekend in West Ham’s win over Leicester and that allowed Almunia to move back to Arsenal. The Spaniard faces stiff competition for a place in the Gunners first-team with Polish keepers Wojciech Szczesny and Lukasz Fabianski ahead of Almunia in the keeper ranks. Almunia…

Read More

Van Persie denies Nazi salute rumours

Arsenal striker Robin Van Persie has denied reports that he made a Nazi salute following his second goal against Chelsea, BBC Sport reports. The Dutch striker netted a hat-trick in the 5-3 victory, but internet rumours circulated over the way Van Persie celebrated. The 28 year old brushed his shoulders and then thrust his arm in an outwards motion reminiscent of a Nazi salute. Van Persie took to social networking side Twitter to show his frustration at the rumours and believes that the celebration was just ecstasy towards Arsenal fans,…

Read More

Vermaelen set for Arsenal start against Marseille

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger may recall Belgian defender Thomas Vermaelen for his side’s Champions League tie with Marseille, Sky Sports reports. Vermaelen had been injured before he was brought on for the final few minutes of the game against Chelsea at the weekend. The Belgian’s inclusion in the side will be a welcoming boost for Wenger, as he looks to do the double over Marseille after Aaron Ramsey’s goal won the game for Arsenal in France last time. Defender Carl Jenkinson is available for selection, along with midfielder Yossi Benayoun.…

Read More

Vidic sends out warning to title competitors

Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic has warned their title rivals that his club are back and hungry for victory, The Sun reports. Vidic had to sit and painfully watch as his side were dismantled at the hands of their cross-city nemesis Manchester City 6-1 at Old Trafford. The 30 year old Serbian was restored to the heart of the United defence this weekend and produced a magnificent display to keep a clean sheet for his side, as they won 1-0. The Serbian is now keen to get United back on…

Read More

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer emerges as surprise favourite for Portsmouth job

Former Manchester United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the favourite to take over at Portsmouth as their pursuit of a new manager continues, understands Shoot Magazine. The Norwegian successfully steered homeland side Molde FK to the Tippeligaen in his first full season in management ending a 100 year wait for league success for the club. His achievements have not gone unnoticed back in the country where he made his name and he is rumoured to have shot to the top of Pompey’s shortlist as they look to replace Steve Cotterill…

Read More

15-year-old Wycombe starlet Jordan Ibe rejects move to Fulham as Liverpool interest rumbles on

15-year-old Wycombe Wanderers forward Jordan Ibe has rejected a move to Premier League side Fulham amidst interest from Liverpool, understands The Sun. Ibe thrust his name into the national spotlight on Saturday as he scored on his first professional start against Sheffield Wednesday prompting interest from a number of top division sides. Fulham were rumoured to have been following Ibe’s progress for a while but after being the first team to lodge a bid they were knocked back by Ibe who has his heart set on a move to a…

Read More

Dean Saunders’ Doncaster revolution continues with Diouf capture

Doncaster Rovers have completed the signing of former Liverpool striker El-Hadji Diouf on a three month deal. The Senegalese international must await clearance before completing the move and arrives at the Keepmoat Stadium amidst somewhat of a forward crisis. James Hayter was the only recognised front-man in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Coventry with Billy Sharp missing due to a family problem and Chris Brown still struggling with a knee injury. They are also without Jon Parkin who has returned to Cardiff City following a loan spell at the club. Diouf,…

Read More

“Nice dive” by Suarez gave Liverpool helping hand says Scharner

West Brom midfielder Paul Scharner has hailed Luis Suarez as ‘the best in the world’ for diving and winning penalties, The Telegraph reports. Suarez won Liverpool their opening goal after contact with Jerome Thomas in the West Brom box saw the Uruguayan go down and win the penalty. Charlie Adam converted for the Reds and Scharner believes that Suarez conned the referee to win the penalty for his side. The Austrian midfielder believes that if that decision to award a penalty was correct, then there would be 1,500 penalties given…

Read More

Carroll praises Suarez as best player in Premier League

Liverpool striker Andy Carroll believes that there is no better player in the Premier League than strike partner Luis Suarez, liverpoolfc.tv reports. The former Newcastle man has begun to forge an impressive partnership with the Uruguayan forward and they contributed heavily in Liverpool’s 2-0 victory over West Brom at the weekend. Carroll grabbed his third goal of the season in that fixture and believes that the differences in his and Suarez’s play allow them to link up perfectly. Carroll said: ‘I couldn’t name a better player in the Premier League…

Read More

New Gerrard injury setback for Liverpool

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard could face another lengthy lay-off after being diagnosed with an infected ankle, The Telegraph reports. Gerrard had made his return from a six month lay-off following groin surgery against Manchester United two weeks ago, but the news of this latest injury could rule the 31 year old out of action again. An innocuous cut suffered in training last week has infected and Gerrard was pictured leaving a Liverpool hospital with a protective boot on his ankle. The latest setback almost certainly rules Gerrard out of the…

Read More

Should Carragher still be first choice defender for Liverpool?

Jamie Carragher has become as much a part of the Liverpool furniture as the club’s iconic Welcome to Anfield sign, however, most will now agree he is entering the twilight of a prominent career. The defender missed his side’s recent victory against West Bromwich Albion and, while it may have been a mere coincidence, in his absence the Liverpool defence showed an assuredness they had previously lacked this season, resulting in just their third Premier League clean sheet. Bootle-born Carragher is as synonymous with the Reds as his good friend…

Read More

Tottenham eye Man Utd duo for Champions League push

Tottenham Hotspur boss Harry Redknapp has identified Manchester United pair Rio Ferdinand and Michael Owen as potential loan signings as he looks to strengthen his squad in order to boost his side’s chances of playing in the Champions League, The Daily Mail has revealed. Sir Alex Ferguson showed that Ferdinand is not guaranteed a place in the starting XI when he dropped him on Saturday after his poor performance against Manchester City last weekend and Redknapp could offer him a temporary move to Spurs in order to boost his chances…

Read More

Rafael near to Man Utd comeback

Sir Alex Ferguson has announced that Brazilian full-back Rafael da Silva is nearing a return to the first-team, having been out of action since August, BBC Sport reports. The 21-year-old needed surgery on his shoulder three months ago and has now recovered from the successful operation. Ferguson has revealed that the former Fluminense player has been training for the past week and he feels the youngster is ready to feature for the club in a reserves game. He said: “Rafael has been training for over a week. It was a…

Read More

Cleverley set to return for Man Utd in Sunderland clash

Tom Cleverley is the latest addition to Manchester United’s injury list after he picked up an ankle injury which will keep him out of his side’s Champions League tie with Otelul Galati on Wednesday, The Daily Mail has revealed. The 22-year-old picked up the injury during United’s 1-0 victory over Everton on Saturday and he joins defender Chris Smalling and winger Ashley Young on the sidelines. Smalling has broken his foot and could be out of action until December whilst young has not recovered from a toe injury. Cleverley’s injury…

Read More

Championship Analysis – Classy Southampton brush disappointing Middlesbrough aside

Southampton remained top of the Championship thanks to a surprisingly routine win over fellow high-flyers Middlesbrough. Boro, who overcame a somewhat ropey run of form with an impressive win over Derby last weekend, started the day third but looked a shadow of the dogged team which had gone 13 games without defeat until mid-October, and had only conceded three goals away from home all season before Saturday’s clash. For Southampton, however, this sparkling win continued Nigel Adkins’ side’s 100 per cent home record, and took their overall goal tally to…

Read More

Spurs get Damiao boost as Brazilian admits Europe plans

Tottenham target Leandro Damiao has admitted that he is dreaming of playing his football in Europe. The 22-year-old Brazilian striker is not short of admirers, with European giants Barcelona and Roma keeping tabs on his progress. Spurs had submitted an official offer for the player in the summer but saw it knocked back by his club, Internacional, who rate him at 50 million Euros. “Every player dreams of playing in Europe, but this will happen naturally,” Damiao told Spanish media. “Now I hope to continue to do a good job…

Read More

Parker confident of Tottenham success

Scott Parker and Gareth Bale believe Tottenham can challenge for honours this season. Speaking after Spurs’ victory over QPR, which takes their unbeaten run to 11 games in all competitions, Tottenham’s new boy, Parker, told Sky Sports that the club is ready to be successful. “We’ve been saying it for a little while now but this squad can go places this year, and if we believe in ourselves we can go far and I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season. “We played really good football and at…

Read More

Barton labels Tottenham star as best in the Premier League

QPR captain Joey Barton says that Luka Modric is the best player in the Premier League ‘by a mile’. Modric played the full 90 minutes in Tottenham’s 3-1 defeat of the hoops yesterday, with Gareth Bale netting twice, and in-form Rafael van der Vaart getting the other to secure the points, a result which moved the North London club up to fifth in the table. Barton tweeted: “What a footballer Luka Modric is, hats off. Best in the league by a mile.” The Croatian play-maker was heavily linked with a…

Read More

Tiote not interested in Newcastle exit despite Chelsea interest

Newcastle star Cheick Tiote says he’s not interested in a move away from St James’ Park despite interest from Arsenal and Chelsea. The Ivorian international has been linked with both London clubs in the last few weeks, but told the Daily Mirror that he was just happy to keep working hard and stay out of the referee’s notebook. “I’m happy at Newcastle and I have a long contract. Every player wants to play in Europe and I am no different. I think Newcastle can get into Europe. “Last season was…

Read More

Villas-Boas angry at lack of tactical discipline

Andre Villas-Boas accused his players of ‘broken promises’ in a furious training ground outburst on Sunday. According to the Daily Mail, the 34-year-old Blues boss claimed his team had let him and the club down after their 5-3 defeat to Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. The Chelsea players arrived at their Cobham training centre expecting the usual post match warm-down, but were met by a fuming Villas-Boas who put them through a tough work-out, having spent around 30 minutes in the changing rooms, forcing home a number of points.…

Read More

Cech disappointed at Chelsea defending

Chelsea shot stopper Petr Cech has lamented his side’s bad defending following their 5-3 defeat to Arsenal. The result meant that the Blues lost ground on both Manchester clubs in the race for the title, leaving the Czech international to bemoan Chelsea’s performance, and their defending in particular. “I am extremely disappointed with the result, but there is nothing we can do about it now – the only response is to win the following games,” he told his personal website. “If my memory works well, this is the first time…

Read More